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Conditions & Treatments

Toe and Forefoot Fractures Treatment

How is a metatarsal stress fracture treated?

Primary treatment for stress fractures is rest and staying off the foot, stopping activities that resulted in the fracture and substituting with activities that do not put pressure on the injured foot for 3-4 weeks.

What is involved with self-care for a broken toe?

Most broken toes heal on their own with home care including:

  • rest, reduce activity
  • icing to reduce swelling
  • elevate to reduce swelling
  • over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication
  • splinting
  • use of a rigid or stiff soled shoe when regular footwear is too painful due to swelling
  • buddy taping with medical tape is wrapping the broken toe with the adjacent toe. This provides support and helps to keep the toe from moving or being reinjured.

Pain and swelling should resolve within a week, and within in 4-6 weeks the toe should be healed with the use of conservative measures. However, when the toe is crooked, there is an open wound or the trauma involves the big toe, you should see a foot specialist for x-rays and a professional evaluation.

If the big toe injury is severe, a splint or cast may be recommended. If x-rays reveal that small pieces of bone have broken off, or the toe bones are out of alignment, you may need a cast or surgery to realign the bone. If surgery is indicated, it can take 6-8 weeks to heal. Recovery will include physical therapy to restore strength and mobility.

What is the treatment for traumatic metatarsal fractures?

Initial treatment for your symptoms that may be recommended include:

  • Rest, icing and elevation
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications for pain
  • Avoiding the activity that caused the fracture

Treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture and its location.  The fracture may be stable with the bones aligned or displaced and out of alignment. If the bones are aligned, a short leg cast, or splint will be applied. You will be advised to use crutches and to not put weight on the broken foot. A cast will be worn for 6-8 weeks while you heal.

In some cases, you may be treated with a brace or rigid flat bottom shoes without surgery; and will receive periodic x-rays to assess healing and alignment. If severe, surgery may be needed to realign and hold bones in place with pins and screws. After surgery you will wear a cast for 6-8 weeks while you heal. Physical therapy is vital to restore mobility and strength.

When you think you may have a broken foot bone, call the orthopedic specialists at OANC to be evaluated and if needed receive the correct treatment.

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